Love and romance took center stage on Saturday night during Latin superstar Ricardo Arjona’s latest visit to the Valley, the sixth stop on the U.S. leg of his “Viaje” world tour. The Guatemalan singer, and one of Latin America’s most well-known songwriters, delighted his fans, who packed Comerica Theatre in downtown Phoenix.
The two-hour concert kicked off with one of the latest songs from his “De La Luna en Bicicleta” album and made extensive use of a 60-foot-tall set designed to look like a train station. Arjona showed up on board a rusty four-wheel bike, with large screens behind him showing the open road. Travel was a recurring theme throughout the concert, very appropriate given that his tour name “Viaje” means trip.
He continued with three of the biggest hits in his career that spans nearly three decades. “El Problema” got people up on their feet and singing along word for word. The audience also sang along eagerly to the ballads “Acompañame” and “Dime Que No.”
Over the next half hour, Arjona dedicated several ballads to one of the main topics throughout his career, women. From the telenovela theme song “Desnuda” to the sultry “Piel Pecado,” the Latin crooner joked and flirted with the audience, earning cheers and whistles from the crowd.
At one point, for the song “Señora de las cuatro décadas,” he even invited one of the women in attendance to the stage, much to the delight of his fans. The song, which talks about a 40-year-old woman and how she should embrace her age and appeal, was immensely popular, eliciting a vigorous reaction, and more so when Arjona had the woman sit on his lap as he sang to her on stage.
Nearly halfway through the concert, the Guatemalan singer switched gears from romance and women to sing one of his early hits with a very political message. The song “Si el norte fuera el sur,” takes on the often-controversial subject of American intervention in Latin America.
Without taking breaks, Arjona focused on another popular topic within his music and the audience, the ups and down in relationships. This ballad-heavy section included a mix of new and older songs like “El amor” and “Te conozco.”
One of the more understated highlights of the concert was his a capella performance of “Mojado,” another political song addressing the situation of undocumented immigrants in the United States. The audience was nearly silent throughout the song, interrupted only by the occasional burst of applause in reaction to the pro-immigrant lyrics.
Relationships were once again at the forefront for the last four songs of the set: “Lo poco que tengo,” “Te quiero,” “No consigo respirar,” and “Fuiste tu.” Nearly two hours after the concert started, he said goodbye and walked off the stage, though not for long.
Arjona and his nine-member band walked out at the audience’s request. For his encore, he led a five-song acoustic set featuring mostly older hits from his first few albums. After the 15 minute-long set, he once again thanked the audience and left but came back out again to perform one of his better-known hits, “Minutos,” which kept the audience on their feet.
He walked off a third time, but the crowd refused to leave and called him out once more. He obliged and sang the last piece of the night, “Mujeres,” and ode to, you guessed it, women. The energetic, upbeat song wrapped up the concert and provided a welcome respite to a sometimes ballad-heavy show. Although his audience made sure that despite the change in pace in the music, the concert would be anything but dull.
Full set list:
A la luna en bicicleta
Sin ti, sin mí
Señora de las cuatro décadas
Si el norte fuera el sur
Tu ibas con él
Lo poco que tengo
No consigo respirar
Canciones que dejé impresas en vinilo
Realmente no estoy tan solo
Rafael Carranza | La Voz